I think I may have actually talked my hubs into one of these!
The camping trip started off to a good start. Our friends showed up at our place around 2 o'clock to head out on our little excursion.
Included in our trip were:
1. Jeff and Whitney, our wonderful neighbors who have become the best of friends. These two are hilarious, and canoeing with them was a hoot. Keep in mind, Jeff had fussed about this trip for 2 weeks because he is NOT a hot weather guy. He's a generator mechanic for the CAT dealership here. I believe his quote was, "I work in the heat all day to pay for A/C when I get home, so why would I want to go camp in this weather." Whitney, on the other hand, grew up doing this, so I was pretty sure there was going to be a marital dispute if he didn't agree to go!
2. Heath and Christy. Heath was my bro's roommate before he joined the army, and I became really close friends with Christy while they were dating. They have two kiddos, and were leaving the baby for the first time. They are our original camping partners. We all used to take trips when we were newlyweds with no kiddos.
3. Derrick, Morgan's BFF (he would DIE if he knew I referred to him as that)! His wife wasn't able to go, so he made the trip solo which worked out great because my BFF......
4. Christy had to go solo too! Her hubby had to work this weekend. She was also leaving her little man for the first time overnight. She and Morgan basically planned this trip. She LOVES to go, although I don't really understand why because she ALWAYS gets hurt! More on that later :)
5. And lastly, us. Keep in mind, I do this for Morgan. If I were planning a trip for myself, it would include air conditioning, prepared food, clean clothes, a shower, and probably some sort of hair dryer/straight iron. *Which, by the way, is why there is no pictures in this post. You have do retain some sort of dignity!
We headed out north through the backgrounds of Alabama to the foothills of Tennessee. Our destination was the Buffalo River in Waynesboro, TN. Now, don't get me wrong, we are country folks. I mean, seriously, we live on a farm but it doesn't get anymore backwoods than where we were. I've been quite a few times, but it always surprises me for some reason. I tell Morgan it seems like we step by in time when we cross the state line! We had to make a pit stop in Pulaski to purchase things for our wonderful supper that night. I'm not quite sure why ALL of us were involved in this, but when you get 8 crazy adults away from our children for the day it can get pretty wild. So, an hour later, we are back on the road. What should have been an hour and a half trip took 3 hours! It was all in good fun though.
When we got there, we were surprised to see how many "primitive" campers there were (yes, the sign actually said "primitive" which reminded me very quickly why I was born in 1984, not 1884) Oh, let me back up, about 15 miles from our destination, it proceeded to rain cats and dogs. So, we had to search for our "perfect" campsite in the rainstorm. I was NOT at all excited at this point. I mean, my hair started to curl before I even got out of the car! Anyway, we waited about 20 minutes and it just stopped. It was the strangest thing. Not only that, but the temp dropped from 95 to about 73. I told Jeff that it was a sign from God that he wanted him to have a happy trip and not complain! He didn't buy it :)
As we unloaded all of our gear, and set up camp the guys decided to start the grill for our burgers. Remember, there are TONS of people camping around us. So, Heath unloads his handy dandy mini grill, opens it up, and there it is........no grate!!! Seriously, like nothing to put the meat on but charcoal. Oh heavens, could it get any worse?!? What to do now? The closest store is a good 45 minutes away. Christy (being the go-getter that she is), decides to go ask people if we can borrow theirs. Would you believe that NO ONE we could find had a grill? I mean, what were they eating, beanie weenies? Well, no one that is until we spot our neighbors. There it was, the most beautiful little black grill I've ever seen. *At this point, I was so hungry, I was ready to dive in the river and catch my own fish to roast over the campfire. Anyway, the grill was there, but the neighbors weren't. What were we to do? Borrow it. I, for one, wasn't about to be the culprit, so we made Christy do it. She made a pretty good point, "It's a lot easier to ask for forgiveness than it is to ask for permission," she said. Quickly, the guys put the burgers and dogs on, cooked them, and returned the grate. The poor people didn't even know it was gone! Later that night, they returned but no one said anything. Certainly, my non-confrontational self wasn't about to fess up.
After we eat, we hang out for a while, laugh at our fellow campers swing off of a rope into the river (I'm fairly sure alcohol was involved, since he told his buddy to hold his beer and, "Watch this." Famous last words.). It was quite entertaining, but we decided to go to bed around 10:30 since we had to get up at 7 to head out for our canoe trip. At 11:30, the security guard came around asking us for our $5 campground fee. Now, they wouldn't let us pay when we arrived. The lady assured us that someone would come around later to collect. She didn't say 11:30!! Oh, we were soooo mad. Christy and I shared a tent, but I don't believe the poor girl slept a wink. At one point, I woke in the middle of the night to her staring blankly. She said she couldn't get comfortable. I don't blame her, that air mattress doesn't much compare to the Sealy at home. Around 4 am, we were awoken to a car alarm going off. The neighbors (who were so kind to loan us their grate, without really knowing), had gotten into an argument, and were packing up to leave. It was awful. After that, I don't think any of us were able to go back to sleep. Finally, at 6:30, we all got up and packed up camp. We headed to the rental place to get our canoes.
When we got there, I asked Whitney to request plastic canoes. For any of you who have ever been, you know that the aluminum ones are much more prone to flip. Plus, that metal on your booty doesn't feel too good on a 5 hour trip down river. Well, the rental guy let us know real quick that they didn't have plastic canoes and if we wanted a plastic canoe we better find another company! I guess he told us. haha. Whatever, we made the best of it and got our aluminum canoes and headed upriver. The drive in the bus made me a little queezy. I don't do well in the backseat of cars, but when you put me in the back of a big ole van with no a/c and mildew seats, that just about put me over the edge. After sitting on the bank for about 10 minutes, and a couple of Whit's pepto tablets, I was good to go! The guy assured us we could make it down the river in 4 hours. Let's add this up, we got in at 8:30 and got finished at 2:30. HELLO......that's NOT 4 hours.
The trip down river was quite humorous to say the least. Jeff (who I thought would HATE it), was so funny. It was all I could do not to fall out of the canoe laughing. He kept doing 360 degree circles in the water, running the canoe into grassy spots, and nearly flipped 3 times. He probably had a better time than any of us. I think Whitney was glad he had fun too. They were quite a site to behold! About half-way down the river, Christy stands up in the canoe to adjust herself, and about that time the canoe runs over a log underwater. The boat shimmied and Christy tumbled over the edge, headfirst! It was funny at the time, until we realized that she had a baseball sized bruise on her thigh from hitting the boat. I'm pretty sure she is hurting today!
I couldn't even begin to tell you all the sites we saw. At one point, there was a man floating down the river, by himself, in a canoe, sitting on a lawn chair. I'm not really sure how you even begin to do that, but he was having a blast! You see some interesting people when you add cheap fun with probably a lot of alcohol.
So, all in all, the trip was a success. We made it safe, hung out with great friends, got some pretty rockin' tans, and have lots of interesting memories to be told!
What a weekend :)